West Bengal bandh total, no untoward incident

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Kolkata,Feb 6: Life was severely affected as a 24-hour 'Bangla Bandh', called by the Forward Bloc to protest yesterday's police firing in Dinhata, disrupted train and road transport services throughout the state today.

Police lathicharged at several places to disperse bandh supporters who put up blockades on roads and railway tracks. Police used batons in the city's Esplanade, Kidderpore and Raja Bazar areas to disperse Forward Bloc workers, who either attacked buses or put up road blocks holding the traffic. Bandh supporters also blocked the Howrah bridge and several expressways.

''Altogether 175 bandh supporters have been arrested for obstructing traffic and preventing people from joining regular duty,'' IG Law and Order Raj Kanoria said.

In Kolkata, shutters were down in most of the shops and markets while educational institutions remained closed and attendance was thin in many of the government and private offices and banks.

However, the city's metro system functioned as usual while flight operation was normal in Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International airport.

According to official reports, functioning was normal in the industrial belts as well as the collieries though the bandh had a mixed impact on other sectors. Meanwhile, Home Secreatary P R Ray said a departmental inquiry into yesterday's police firing in Cooch Behar in which five people were killed, is likely to be orderd.

Reports coming in from Hooghly informed that about 21 Forward Bloc activists, including MLA Niranjan Pandit, were arrested from Ghoghat Kamarpukar area. Party's district secretary Anil Pal has been arrested from Arambhagh, SDPO Swapan Bagchi said.

CITU-supported Jute Mill workers and bandh supporters clashed with the police at Angus under Bhadreswar police station. A strong police force had been deployed.

The CPI(M)'s students wing Students Federation of India activists also clashed with bandh supporters at Chinsura Hooghly Mahasin College in Hooghly district.

District Magistrate of Hooghly Vinod Kumar said the situation was under control with no untoward incident taking place. Work was on at the Tata Motors Singur Project area.

Forward Bloc activists led by Shibpur MLA Jagannath Bhattachrya, Panchla area MLA Dolly Ray and Uluberia MLA and Cooperation Minister Rabin Ghosh picketed in differnt parts of neighbouring Howrah district.

Reports from Nadia said while government buses plied private vehicles stayed off the roads. However, train services in Sealdah division/section were affected as bandh supporters squatted on tracks. Attendance in government offices was less than normal.

School exams and classes remained suspended.


UNI

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